Analog Stylophone

[Doug Jackson] just finished building an analog Stylophone. We’ve seen this instrument a few times before, most recently with an Arduino-based controller, but this one makes use of 555-timer, resistors, and potentiometers to generate the waveform for each note. If you’ve got the copper-clad and the means to etch the board everything else should be pretty easy to come by. We did note that since this is a single-sided board you’ll be soldering on the same side as the components, which can get a bit hairy but manageable. We just wish that [Doug] has posted a demonstration video so we could hear what this sounds like. But it can’t be too much different from that electronic vuvuzela that used a 555 timer as well.


  1. D_ says:

    Unlike the vuvuzela that just exist to make an annoying noise. you could play a tune with this stylophone How well this would sound is the question, where not talking Yamaha keyboard here.

  2. Doug Jackson says:

    It is a square wave oscillator … It certainly isn’t a piano!

    But at least the tuning is accurate!

  3. svofski says:

    obligatory Little Boots plug:

  4. NoSon says:

    I bet it sounds something like this…

  5. smoker_dave says:

    555 timer is a digital IC, not analogue. See how it works (ioncluding digital flip flop):

  6. Stoneshop says:

    @smoker_dave: Just because the 555 has a square-wave output doesn’t make it digital. Resistors and capacitors to determine an oscillator’s frequency are certainly the realm of analog electronics.
    Also, he could have built essentially the same circuit using an opamp instead of the 555; you wouldn’t have called it digital then, even though the opamp’s output would be carrying a square wave as well.

    BTW, connecting C4 to pin 2 instead of pin 3 gives you a more or less triangle wave, and thus a different sound.

  7. Doug Jackson says:

    I just uploaded a video of it running.

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